Keeping fit is one of the best things you can do to get yourself feeling better and healthier. Today we are living in unprecedented times due to the social distancing we are all having to endure during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chances are your local gym is temporarily closed
If you are reading this during the lockdown, the chances are your local gym will be temporarily closed and being told to stay at home by the government may tempt you to just curl up on the sofa and binge-watch your favourite programs on Netflix. But exercise is not only essential for supporting a healthy immune system, but it also helps boost your overall mood.
As the world feels a little out of control, it may be the perfect time to take full control of what you can and build a daily exercise routine into your schedule. Doing this could help you get through these difficult times a little easier.
30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day
It is recommended to aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day and strength training at least two times per week. Most people will be burning fewer calories than normal due to the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment, so adding a little more to your daily routine could help to prevent weight gain.
Some research studies have shown that prolonged sitting or lying down can be associated with a decline in the immune function in young males. One large study found that sedentary behavior, such as excess lying or sitting down, is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Overtraining can have adverse effects
It’s important to note that strenuous exercise or overtraining can also have adverse effects if you are not very fit, to begin with, have pre-existing health conditions or are over the age of 65. Strenuous exercise or overtraining could temporarily suppress the function of your immune system, so caution should be taken if you fit into any of the above-mentioned conditions.
Vitamin D, and immune function
Outdoor exercise has been widely limited due to the rules of social distancing measures that have been put in place. This can also have an adverse impact on the immune system as vitamin d, which has been proven to boost immune function and mood, is produced in your skin with sun exposure. If you are able to maintain safe social distancing, it is recommended you try and get a little outdoor exercise.
What can I do at home?
If don’t feel comfortable going outside or the weather is just terrible, you can still get the full workout your body needs at home.
Even if you do not have any exercise gear at home, there are still many different things you can do to stay fit and active. The internet is full of different streaming services that offer home workouts. There are many different mobile apps with free and low-cost workouts for all levels of fitness and many don’t require any fitness equipment.
Lay out a yoga mat
One yoga expert recommends setting up a comfortable workspace at home by laying out a yoga mat in a calm, well-lit corner of the home which will give you the perfect space to do some light stretching and meditation.
Another interesting way to practice indoor fitness in house walking. It may sound a little mundane but if you have a step counter or fitness tracker, it can soon become quite addictive as you aim for those ten thousand steps a day. This is a simple yet fun way to burn extra calories while wandering around the house. You may find yourself walking around while brushing your teeth and talking on the phone just to add a few more steps to your daily tally.
A daily workout you can start today
You don’t need to have a room filled with gym equipment such as weights and dumbells to get a good full-body strength workout. There are many ways to workout by just using your own body weight and a select few household items.
Here are some exercises you may like to practice.
Standing with your head facing forward and your chest held out, place your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms out in front of your body as this will help you to keep your balance. Now hinge your hips back just like you would if you were about to sit on a chair. Try to keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends slightly forward. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible with your knees over the ankles. Now press your weight into your heels as you keep your body tight and push through your heels and bring yourself back up to the starting position.
Again, stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart with your hands on your sides or on the hips. Take a large step back with your right foot, landing with the ball of the foot on the ground, and your heel up. Now lower the back leg down until it slightly grazes the ground thus creating a 90-degree angle in the front leg. Then push through the heel and midfoot of the front leg to return back to standing and bring your right foot back in line with the left. Repeat on the left side to complete one rep. If you are a beginner or suffer from any knee issues, only go down as far as you can within your pain range. You may also prefer to start with a shorter stride length then increase it more as you become stronger.
Start in the hands and knees position with your eyes looking down at the floor beneath with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width. Place your knees at a comfortable distance apart from one another. Begin to slowly lower your elbows, bringing your stomach closer to the ground. Try to keep your muscles contracted as you do this. Take a moment’s pause then push up from the ground back to the starting position. After a while, you can begin to do the push-ups from the toes.
Like we said earlier, you don’t need a set of dumbells to build up your strength. Its time to grab those canned goods and get going. You could even use a water bottle or something similar if you choose.
Extend your arm out over the arm of your sofa or chair. You’ll want to get roughly a 45-degree bend of your upper body. Keeping your back neutral and your back engaged, pull the makeshift dumbell up towards your side. Keep your arm close to your body as you are pulling your elbow back. Now squeeze the shoulder blade before extending your arm back out to the starting position.
Standing straight with your feet hip-width apart, hold a makeshift weight in each hand with your arms down at your sides and palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows close to your side, bend the elbows while keeping the wrists straight and curl the weights up to your shoulders. Pause for a moment then slowly lower them back down to the starting position.
Using a chair or something similar, place the palms of your hands with fingers forward on the edge. Now walk your feet out to roughly a 45-degree angle. Keep your knees soft and the core of your body engaged, then slowly bent the knees while bending the elbows backward. Return to the starting position and then repeat.
Plank your elbows on the ground directly under your shoulders with your feet roughly hip-width apart. Try to make sure your back is flat and the neck and head are in a neutral position. Now drive your elbows into the floor and squeeze your glutes, quads, and core. Don’thold your breath. Try to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
How Long Should You Hold a Plank?
It is not necessary nor is it always better to hold a plank for an extended period of time. It may be hard for a beginner to hold one for longer than 20 seconds, but that’s not a problem, as many fitness experts recommend doing them in bursts of 20 seconds
If 20 seconds is too much for you at this moment, aim for 10 seconds and build up from there.
It’s better to take things slow and progress steadily rather than injuring yourself by doing too much. So please be safe while practicing some of the exercises we have listed here, and we hope they keep you active during these uncertain times.
Thank you for reading our blog.